It's a good storyline, isn't it? Texas native Earl Thomas comes home and leads the Cowboys to a Super Bowl. It's what he wants. It's what the Cowboys seem to want. And now it could become a reality, as the former star safety was released by the Ravens on Sunday.
The only issue with this storybook ending is that Earl Thomas is the antagonist now and the Cowboys don't need another one of those as they attempt to finally get back over the hump and make a run in the 2020 playoffs.
Word dropped on Sunday that the Ravens are done with Earl Thomas, cutting him after a tumultuous year. During his limited time in Baltimore, Thomas was reportedly late for meetings, got into a heated argument with teammate Brandon Williams last year and, most recently, punched fellow safety Chuck Clark at practice, which was the final straw for the Ravens.
There were also reports that Thomas wasn't following the Ravens defensive scheme and instead "freestyling" to try and pad his stats. Let's also not forget this offseason he had a domestic issue where his wife reportedly held him at gunpoint after catching him in bed with another woman (and his brother).
When he was at his best, all of those issues, plus the fact that he wanted to get paid like a top three safety in the NFL, could be overlooked. Now, despite making the Pro Bowl in 2019, he is not a top three safety. He recorded only two interceptions last year and was given a 76.7 grade by Pro Football Focus. The top safety, Anthony Harris, had a 91.1 rating.
The Cowboys' safety group isn't exactly a shutdown unit. Strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix hasn't been elite since 2016 with the Packers and free safety (the same position Thomas plays) Xavier Woods is average. However, Woods is a leader in the Cowboys locker room. He's a team guy who isn't looking to be the star, rather part of the reason the team succeeds.
That's what the Cowboys need more than anything. They have big personalities starting at the top with Jerry Jones. They don't need any other me-first people. While Thomas has always valued winning, he brings a lot of baggage with him. That's not what the Cowboys need as they try to win a title.
The core of this Cowboys unit has been together for multiple years. Surely they could handle the issues that come along with a high-profile player like Thomas. But why add the possibility of discord? Thomas has proven to be a me-first player dating back to when he ran after then-Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and told him to trade for him. The Seahawks were in the playoff race that year. They wound up missing it. A big storyline was the behavior of Thomas, not the team. The Cowboys need to be about the team this year. The last few years of contract talks around Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott proves that.
The idea of bringing Thomas back to Texas is nice. Perhaps in another world it could have been the storybook ending he wanted. But it's too late for that now. The Cowboys should go forward with what they have and not add another character to the plot, especially not one who will add more issues than they already have.